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A triphthong (from ancient Greek τρίφθογγος tri "three" and phthóngos "sound") is a triple sound made up of three vowel sounds, for example [ jaw ], as in the interjection " meow ". However, if there is a syllable boundary between two vowels (it is not a triphthong), one speaks of a vowel collision or hiatus (as in "Bau-er", for example).


A triphthong forms exactly one syllable, which reduces the number of possible combinations. So pronounceable triphthongs can virtually (rather, with the semi-vowels only with the sounds "u" and "i" [⁠ w ⁠] and [⁠ j ⁠] ) are formed.

In German

Many triphthongs have been simplified to diphthongs or simple vowels in the course of language history. They are found much more frequently in dialects of the German-speaking area than in standard German , where they rarely occur.


(Here it is assumed that half vowels have vowel value.)

  • in standard German
[jaɪ̯]: yes n
[jaʊ̯]: Jau che , jau chze , jau len , Jau se
[jɔʏ̯]: Jäu rule (small snack)
[jɛɐ̯]: annual Lich (with vowel pronunciation of r)
[waw]: wow !
  • in German dialects
An example of the language historical development of triphthongs in German-speaking countries are the northern and western North Bavarian and the North bairisch influenced, eastern Upper East Frankish , where the combination of former long vowels or diphthongs of Middle High German time and the consonant r by diphthongization and r- vocalization triphthongs have arisen. Typical examples are (each with dialect word, IPA romanization , standard German translation and Middle High German sound):
Hòuă [ hɔu̯ɐ ] (hair), mhd. Âr
Òuă [ ɔu̯ɐ ] (ear), mhd. Ôr
mèjă [ mɛi̯ə ] (more), mhd. êr
Schnouă [ ʃnou̯ɐ ] (cord), mhd. Uor
vejă [ fei̯̯ə ] (four), mhd. ier
Schnejăl [ ʃnei̯̯əl ] (Schnürlein) mhd. Üer
uai , for example in spuai , fortune telling
[jaj]: jeg
[jej]: yea , ya le
[jaw]: yow l
[jɔw] / [jəw]: yo del , yo ga , yo ghurt , yo ke , yo kel , yol k , yo -yo
[jɪə]: year
[jeə]: yeah ?
[jʊə]: U ranus , u rine , you'r e , your self
[wej]: q ua , q uai l , q uai nt , q ua ke , q ua sar , q ua si , q ua ver , s ue de , s wai n , s wa the , s way , T wai n , wa ve , way
[waj]: q ui et , q ui te , q ui nine , s wi ne , s wi pe , t wi ce , t wi ne , why , Y
[wɔj]: q uoi t
[waw]: wou nd , wow !
[wɔw] / [wəw]: q uo te , q uo th , s wo llen , wo ke
[wɪə]: q ueer , q ue ry , we'r e
[weə]: s wear
[jɪj]: yea st
[jʊw]: c u e , d u e , f ew , U , u se , yew , you , you th , you ve
[wɪj]: q uee n , t wea k , wea k , wee k
[jaj]: desprec iái s
[wej]: b uey
[waj]: averig uái s , Urug uay
miał [ ˈm jaw ] (he had)
łajdactwo [ waj ˈdatstvɔ ] (mendacity)
快 ( kuài ) [ ˈkʰ u̯aɪ̯ ] (quickly)
回 ( huí , actually huéi ) [ ˈχ u̯eɪ̯ ] (return or return)

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Triphthong  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Manfred Renn, Werner König: Small Bavarian Language Atlas. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3423033282 . Pp. 40–41, 44–49, 62–65 and in the Speaking Language Atlas of Bavaria
  2. ^ Ludwig Zehetner: The Bavarian dialect book. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1985, ISBN 3406305628 . Chapter Geography of Bavarian Today , pp. 54–71 and Phonology , pp. 75–92
  3. Eberhard Wagner: The Franconian dialect book. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1987, ISBN 3406318002 . Chapter Franconian Phonology, pp. 47–62
  4. ^ Adolf Gütter: North Bavarian Language Atlas. Munich 1971, and in the DiWa Digitalen Wenker Atlas project , maps 8 mhd. Â , 9 mhd. Ô , 11 mhd. Ê , 15 mhd. Uo , 13 mhd. Ie , 14 mhd. Üe